Summer Smoothie Recipes: Tahitian Frozen Lemonade

Tahitian Frozen Lemonade Recipe

Tahiti Smoothie Recipe – Frozen Lemonade

Inspired by the vanilla and coconut flavors known to Tahiti, this twist on traditional lemonade makes it easy to escape a hectic work week for a place more tropical.

Ingredients

The juice of 2 lemons
The juice of 1 lime
12oz of coconut water (not milk)
5 mint leaves
1 vanilla bean
Sweetener (stevia, agave, or sugar work well)

Preparation

Juice both lemons and the lime and combine with the coconut water.

Add the mint leaves to the juices then mix in a blender on low until leaves have been incorporated.

Add sweetener to taste then blend to mix.

Transfer lemonade to pitcher. Using a sharp knife, carefully split the vanilla bean length wise in order to reveal the paste inside. Using the knife, carefully scrape the paste from the bean and add it to the lemonade. Stir the vanilla into the mixture.

Serve over ice.

3 Ideas to Simplify Your Life – Minimalism at Home

Ideas to Simplify Your Life – Free Yourself from Stuff at Home

The Minimalist Home: You’ll be Leaner, Greener, and Sometimes Meaner

keep it simpleWhen you hear the word minimalism, its actual roots might not come to mind. It’s come to mean a design aesthetic as much as anything. But, the Yves Klein plates of color, or Japanese architectural lines often associated with the term should not be the focus or starting point for those seeking to embrace minimalism as a way of life.

Minimalism at home should be a simple equation. Is what you have more than what you need? If so, subtract. While this is possibly an oversimplification and there are many ways to go about thinking of minimalism, at its core the concept is about down-sizing, slimming, simplifying and adjusting consumption to be more in line with a green lifestyle.

Minimalism also means spending less money, saving more, and evaluating purchases. This also results in less clutter, which means that aesthetically things in your home will have a better sense of streamlined order. Things will be easier to find. Quality becomes paramount and more important than quantity. The very essence of who you are becomes apparent in what you surround yourself with and what you don’t.

It seems simple. However, don’t think that taking things away makes everything easy. The process of becoming a minimalist, or pairing things down in minimalistic style, can bring some to the verge of an identity crisis. Like all challenging things, there are ways of handling this transition that can be healthier than others. So, in starting to think about minimalism, let us start with basic places where simplicity can be achieved and 3 ideas to simplify your life.

 

The Closet

Closet Organization Project

Source: The Closet @ Lara604′s Flickr Stream

Regarding the closet, there are tell tale signs that things might have gone too far. A bending bar and crammed hangers. Clothing is so stuffed that any idea of folding is out of the notion. Drawers, unable to close, turn into shelves. Yes, that’s too much stuff.

The easiest way to start is to make piles, not just any piles, but ones with real specific tasks to help you figure out what you want, what you need, and what is just dinner for random moths that fly around.

One is a pile of clothing that is faded, torn, or in a state of condition that isn’t worth holding onto. Should you really find something worth keeping that is damaged, make a small area of repairs that you are debating and put it in a maybe pile.

The next pile is of things that you haven’t worn for at least a year. That means that they didn’t make it through the last season to be worn. Or maybe you have something that you just keep avoiding when it comes to putting together an outfit. These pieces, sad and lonely in the closet, should end up in a pile to get rid of.

The final pile if of one that are things you are going to keep. Items should be in good condition and things that you wear enough to keep around. It doesn’t matter how much these items cost, as long as they are actually fitting you well and work to represent the best version of yourself you see possible.

Once you are done, your closet should have a set of classic basics and favorite pieces that really make a statement about what style defines that. In the end, your closet should also be put together in a way that doesn’t feel cramped at all in a visual sense. Open places, in an almost artistically fit way should be present when thinking about minimalism.

Organized Closet

An Ideal Closet @ Rubbermaid Closet’s Flickr Stream

 

The Garage

If there was one space that often feels like a black hole of life, it would be the garage. Everything, from precious photo albums of your grandmother’s wedding to a rusty bike you might fix, ends up being thrown into this room whose only visitors are spiders. But with a minimalistic eye, all of that can change. Your garage can be a well organized space to house what you need, and purge what you do not. So if your garage is looking like a tornado hit, simplifying is vital for you.

Messy Garage

Messy Garage @ GarageTek Flickr

First thing is to get bins for recycling, donation, and garbage. I’d also recommend that you put on a pair of gloves, depending on what you might find if your garage is less than pristine. It should be easy to fill up the garbage bin, since things that are broken and not able to be donated will go there. When it comes to deciding what to keep in the garage, a lot of it is going to be pairing down the personal items.

This can be really hard. Often people don’t like to get rid of things that once held good memories. But part of having a more streamlined, minimalistic life is cleaning out those things we no longer need, without forgetting the great memories. If it is overwhelming, just donate things that are not being used at all. In time, you might have to have another round of going through the memorabilia and figuring out what is really needed, and what is just collecting dust and water stains.

Once you go through the garage, you will be able to see that not only can you actually use your garage in a better way, but you won’t be stressed about having a box of garbage attached to your house. If you do this right, it should have some clean shelving and have things organized with labels. You could even end up starting a new hobby with all the new space that you end up with.

Organized Garage

Organized @ DJ Lein’s Flickr

 

The Bedroom

The bedroom can end up a mash of different things. But for the well organized minimalist, having a bedroom that is just for a few simple things is vital. It shouldn’t be a place where laptops are laying around. Or old bags of food and crumpled napkins. And as for the laundry? It should be tucked away and put up in the closet. And when things get overwhelming, you just need to start with the basics.

Messy Bedroom

Messy Bedroom @ Laura T

Firstly, do away with the clutter. That means you are not going to have every knick knack from your travels around. It is distracting, and ends up being a dust collector. One thing that also isn’t going to be in the bedroom are photographs. As much as you like whomever is in those pictures, it isn’t always good to ‘invite’ others into your sacred space. The bedroom needs to focus on relaxing and other things that just should be about you and another person. Once all of that is cleared out, you have a clean slate.

The next thing to look at is the bed linens. If you have mismatched linens, you need to try and get a set that works. It isn’t a bad idea to try and stick to neutral colors. White is always a classic and clean option. For color, you can spike the set with accent pillows. Keep it simple but try to choose a few colors that are not too cold. Blacks, blues, grays, and other cold colors aren’t good for warming up this place that needs a little passion.

As for the walls, try and paint things to be neutral as well. Should you be a die hard fan of color, you can opt for playing down your window shades and linens that can tone down the room. Artwork can be on the walls, but the images shouldn’t spark any specific memory. This way, your bedroom is a blank canvas that is for relaxing from top to bottom.

Clean Bedroom Design

Clean Bedroom @ Mazzali’s Flickr

All these tips and ideas to simplify your life that apply to these rooms can easily spill over to other areas of your home. Those basic rules of pairing down what is not really needed and getting rid of the clutter is essential. When you begin this process, don’t think you have to do it all in one day. Cleaning things out can be overwhelming, especially when our possessions are involved, but after doing it enough it can be refreshing. Your home will have less, and there is one thing you will gain from it. More time for yourself and loved ones, and that is a tradeoff worth trying for.

Healthy Workout Habits for Summer

5 Healthy Habits to Boost Your Summer Workouts

women-runningSummer might be the perfect time to get in shape, but there are a few things you need to remember if you’re going to have a successful summertime workout. Exercising is only as good as you make it. Pushing your body to the limit is not always the best route, and taking care of yourself, especially if you exercise outside during the hot summer afternoons, is essential to staying healthy.

Here are five healthy habits that will boost your workout routine this summer.

1. Be Consistent

No workout will be effective unless you do it consistently, and your body will respond best if you give it a routine. Schedule your workout times. Find a time of day that works best for you and stick to it.

It’s ok (and good, in fact) to have multiple workout regimens. If all you do is run for an hour or two every morning, you’ll be working the same muscles and joints day after day. Instead of sticking to one workout, create a week-long program that becomes routine.

If you are a runner, for example, schedule longer runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, hit the gym for some cross-training.

It is too strenuous for your body to work out intensely one day only to skip the gym for the next week. A consistent workout will reduce your stress levels and regulate the endorphins that stabilize your mood. An exercise routine will also allow your muscles to adjust to and grow with the strain for optimal results.

Summer Workout Tips

2. Listen to Your Body

Your body communicates its needs every day. Hunger, thirst, fatigue, and even pain are all signals telling you what you need to do to take care of yourself. If you learn to listen to your body, you will reduce chance of injury and illness.

Learn to identify good pain and bad pain. If you quit running or lifting weights every time your muscles start to protest, you won’t improve. But if you push through “bad pain,” you run the risk of damaging your muscles or ligaments.

Your body will communicate other important information. If you are overly fatigued, don’t be afraid to take a day off. If you’re thirsty, your body is telling you that it’s already dehydrated.

Every body works differently, so don’t compare your routines to others’—focus instead on how your body works best. Know and work within your limitations.

3. Snack Well

Everyone knows that a good diet is essential to a successful exercise program. But instead of focusing on what power foods to eat and how to stick to a diet, it might be more helpful to focus on how you’re snacking instead. Most people can remember to eat three balanced meals every day, but it’s all of the “in between” eating that ruins people’s healthy habits.

If you like to eat five smaller meals a day instead of the traditional three, you’ve probably already kicked your snacking habits. If you’re like the majority of the population, however, you eat three larger meals a day and little snacks in between.

So, what are you snacking on? You know the drill: avoid processed sugars, straight carbs, and other snacks you know are unhealthy, especially right before a workout. Instead, try some of these snacks for some long-lasting energy.

  • Bananas or other fruit
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Nuts
  • Energy bars
  • Carrot sticks or other vegetables

Your snacks don’t have to be boring, but keep them fresh, natural, and healthy; take advantage of summer fruits and fresh garden vegetables while they last. Indulge in a sugary treat on the weekends, but don’t make it a part of your daily diet.

4. Hydrate

Man Drinking Water in SummerAlmost 2/3 of our bodies are made of water. Every time you exercise (especially out in the summer heat), you lose some of that water. Even if you’re exercising in the early morning or cool evening hours (recommended to keep your body temperature down and hydration levels up), your body will need plenty of water to function properly.

Experts agree on one thing when it comes to how much water adults should drink: that Americans don’t drink enough. Here is one basic rule of thumb:

  • Drink half your weight in ounces daily (ex: a 150lb person would drink 75oz)

For intense workouts or long-distance runs, drink fluids with added electrolytes. Bring a water bottle with you to the gym, and make sure you drink before, during, and after your workout.

5. Relax

After a strenuous workout, it’s important to give your body time to recover. If you don’t rest, you will be more susceptible to soreness, trouble sleeping, and a decrease in performance. Rest needs to be part of your daily routine as well as part of your exercise plan—build in one rest day per week, and take time to recover after every workout.

After a workout, cool down with a low-intensity activity.

Here are a few ways to get your body ready for tomorrow’s workout:

  • Get a good night’s sleep. Skimping on sleep will increase your stress levels, drain your energy, and keep your muscles wound tight.
  • Ask a loved one to give you a massage. Or, if it’s in the budget, schedule periodic appointments with a massage therapist for a full-body treatment.
  • Spend time in a sauna, steam room, or hot tub. Heat will relax your muscles and increase flexibility and blood circulation.
  • Again, make sure you stretch well after every workout to reduce soreness, cramping, and potential injury.

Poolside Massage

Whether you’re a runner or a gym enthusiast, take care of yourself this summer. Keep your exercise routine healthy and safe while you take advantage of the beautiful weather, and most importantly, enjoy yourself!

8 Great Ideas for Budget-Friendly Summertime Fun

How to Do Summer on a Budget

Summer Fun

More Summer Fun, Less Cost

As our sun tans begin to form and sunglasses become a necessary accessory when stepping outside, the craving to get out and do anything fun starts to build. Running away to Disneyland to be a kid again, or taking a trip to Bali and staying in a five star resort become top of mind subjects. But, while we can try and stave off our need to run out of the cubicle and clock out early, there are weekends and days when even the most adventure craving person will face a dilemma that diverts their plans – budget.

Budget and Summer Dreams Sometimes Collide

Well, as much as we may not want to think about it, we all have a budget. As you plan your most fun summer ever, having a leaner wallet than what you like can put a damper on plans to jet set across the world. Even if you do have the income, you may not have the time. And sometimes just staying closer to home is best. With that in mind, your options decrease a bit. But, with some creative thinking you can uncover a broad range of budget-friendly possibilities. Depending on your mood, you can head far or near, and hopefully wherever you go your strong sense of summer escape is satisfied without killing your bank account.

Try an Airbnb Escape

Rising out of the minds of three travel-savvy men in San Fransisco, CA in 2008, Airbnb has become a worldwide cultural alternative to traditional resorts and hotel pads. Posted in a safe way from studio, home, cottage, and castle owners, Airbnb hosts submit their rooms that are able to be booked online. While you can get a lavish home in the Hollywood hills through Airbnb, for a penny saver it is the affordable flats that are worth a look.

img src:https://www.flickr.com/photos/nagy/

Locations range across the world, but to keep costs down try booking a location within a reasonable driving distance, or another cheap way to get around. Prices range from twenty dollars and head up from there. If you can find any friends, see if you can split the difference and book a location that allows more than one guest without extra fees. From Morocco to Manhattan, see what locations suit you and what is nearby to discover.

Even if you end up closer to home than far, staying somewhere else can bring a new perspective for you. Sometimes, not being too far is deal for those moments of relaxation. Read books, draw, watch movies that are too long for the busy weekend. And if you do manage to tread farther away from home, see what new nooks of the town you are in that are ripe to discover. You might even get the best ideas from the host themselves, and get a new taste of mystery and discovery in one simple visit.

Go to Airbnb to see what you can book: airbnb.com

Park and Forest Day – The Wonder of Outdoors

There is a timeless quality about getting outside that matters. It is when we connect back with nature that we ground ourselves. There are plenty of options when it comes to going outside. For a short outdoor foray, local parks can be a great place. Even if you just head out for a walk, the sense of leaving any chaos behind can settle in after just a few minutes in the open air. Of course, I would also recommend that you opt to shut off your cell phone so the lure of checking emails, texts, and apps can be calmed.

day-at-the-park

Should you have the time, truly getting deeper into the outdoors means at least a couple of days outside. For a longer period of outdoor time, you might see what camping sites are around your home. Some can be booked ahead of time, and sometimes fill up quickly during the summer time so you might want to check them out sooner than later, or simply visit these outdoor recreation sites for the day and explore around them.

If a tent is not your style, then some camp sites have other choices. Yurts, which are similar to teepees, and rental cabins are also great choices to try out. They tend to be more costly than regular tent sites, but can be shared by more than one person. These sites also sometimes allow for pets to come along should you not want to hire a pet sitter. Whether these sites are brush and prairie, or old growth forests that reach into the sky, they are almost always nice and quiet. And, if you’re lucky there are many camping areas with streams and waterfalls, where nature somehow washes away anything but the calming beauty in front of you.

Locate camping locations near you: recreation.gov

Museum Wandering – A Day of Art

There are locations where the summer time outdoors is always pleasant, but then there are other places where the weeks can swelter and make outdoor activities uncomfortable. But, whatever the weather, there are always nice places to wander indoors, where air conditioning is ample and the scenes around you are each a small escape: museums.

Museum

Be it a craft museum of folk art pieces, a clean house of modern art, or a gallery of richly oil painted landscapes, you can find a place that makes you draw a deep breath and inspires with awe and wonder. Benches are often set up, for those wishing to sit and watch, listen to music, write, draw, or simply take a rest when wandering the floors. New exhibits crop up year round, while classic staples of the museum can be found year round to visit time and time again.

While you can make it a one time visit, often paying the price of a yearly pass can be a wise choice. For all those sweltering summer days ahead of you or rainy days during the winter, the pass can offer you the chance to see a lot more. New exhibits will come into town, and it is not rare to catch shows and installations from artist around the world. It’s a tax deductible expense and is an easy way to get away from wilting in the summer heat.

To check out the museums across North America, go to: aam-us.org

Netflixting – Creating Movie Marathons at Home

Nobody seems to have enough free time, so we often let things we want to do and see slip by. One of those things can be watching the latest great foreign films, or a television series everyone raves about. Netflix, or Netflixting, involves the simple action of sitting and watching a slew of films. With an entire summer ahead of you, what better way to relax at home than with enriching and entertaining films?

Netflix Movie Night

Even if you decide not to watch the front runners in the Cannes film festival, you can still make your movie nights full of good times. Don’t try to simply pop in a film or click play, but stage a real life movie theater. It will make the whole night or afternoon rival even the best movie theater experience. Get a popcorn popper, variety of toppings, and serve yourself a glass of wine should you be wanting a more fancy theater going experience. Best of all, popcorn doesn’t cost as much as the movie tickets, and you can also pause when you need to use the restroom and never miss a beat.

If your movie set up isn’t so great and you have a small budget, getting a projector and great wireless speaker system is now a fraction of the cost it used to be. This way, you can have screen sizes that are reminiscent of the theater and last beyond just one trip. Invite over family and friends, and see how staying at home for movies can make for some enjoyable summer nights.

Bolt Bus – Getting Across the Country for a Buck

When it comes to traveling, it used to be a matter of finding a place to stay and loading up the car with enough snacks to keep you satisfied throughout the drive ahead of you. These days, things that become issues for what were once young, spontaneous road trips. Mainly the cost of soaring gas prices have not let young ones get in the car and take off for an adventure. But even for the grown, the idea of gas costing more than a flight to Paris can be jarring. But Bolt Bus is trying to change that.

Bolt Bus, bolt for a buck

Taking advantage of the cost savings of grouping people together on a bus, Bolt Bus beats out any gas prices that you can find. Getting people around from the West Coast to East Coast, and a few stops in between, Bolt Bus is an expanding company that is putting a new spin on public transportation. Unlike traditional buses, bolt bus comes with Wifi for travelers, making long journeys more work productive.

But it isn’t the Wifi, great bathrooms, or punchy orange color on the side that have people talking. It’s the Bolt for a Buck. That is a mysterious little place where you can find a ride for a dollar. Yes, that is right. You might find a trip to somewhere awesome and hours away for a mere buck.

It is a little tricky. When looking for a destination and time, you click through the places and times and eventually you can find a Bolt for a Buck. This is best to do when you schedule a day off or happen to just want to dash. Even so, even if you pay full price the fares are generally much less than other options out there and make for a still very affordable way to get away to new places.

Find your own Bolt for a Buck: boltbus.com

Hostels – A Community Feel and Mix of Interesting Folks

Often the cost of getting out of town can be sunk into where you rest your head at night. One of the most affordable, and interesting, is the hostel. You might have run across the word hostel before and heard a mix of reviews. Some cite the shared space as too intrusive, while others love the mix of people they meet while out and about. With the rise of sites that review hostels, it has become easier than ever to save money on costs with your vacation and put it elsewhere.

hostel stay

img src: https://www.flickr.com/photos/baranclesdublingalway/3293170070/

Hostels are dotted around the globe in interesting locations. Accommodations vary depending on the regional customs. There are hostels in major cities with bustling cafes, and ones tucked back into the woods that give views of starlight. Guests might end up in a traditional bunk style room with others, or you can try out a private room one should you want some privacy if the hostel allows.

The one uniting factor of hostels tends to be the foundation of community spaces. Living rooms, bathrooms, and kitchen tend to be a shared space where people can gather for events or just the morning cup of coffee. And once done with anything there, you can head outside and start with your vacation, and maybe a few new friends along the way too.

Get a spot somewhere at: hostels.com

Spruce Up Your Own Home – Create a Getaway Right at Home

As we grow, so do the places we call home along with all our accumulated items. Should you have spent a few years in the same place, or even decades, it is easy to let time adorn your home in clutter. One of the best ways of spending a summer is simply putting some time, effort, and dab of elbow grease into your home. Rather than simply cleaning it, change up your home to better suit your lifestyle now. Maybe children that have moved out, or you have a spare bedroom. You are in luck. These places are ideal for enhancing your lifestyle with some new personal space.

Reading Nook

The first step in knowing what to do is thinking about your hobbies and passions. Chances are, you might already have some areas carved out for this. But by taking a few days, or weeks, to clean out what you no longer need will make things even more clear. You can hold a garage sale, or simply donate to a local charity of friend who is in need of something that you don’t use anymore.

Once that is done, take a walk around. If you love being outside, this might be a place to start. Imagine what you would love to do more of, and how the space could assist that. Outside, you might see that you want a more peaceful location and put a water feature or hot tub in place and swap out the barbecue for a fire pit. For no longer used dining room, a reading nook can come to life with bookshelves for peaceful mornings. The options in how to change your home are as endless as the variety of things you enjoy, and your summer at home might yield you a new paradise year round.

Book a Last Minute Cruise – Your Get Away on the Water

Getting away can sometimes get tricky. There is lodging to think of and destinations to find. Not to mention thinking of how to get to and from all the places you want to see. With one ship, however, all of those issues are suddenly resolved. The beauty of cruise ships is that they allow for travelers to sit back and relax instead of exhausting all mental energy on planning. The downside is that all those accommodations can be costly when traveling of to the paradisiacal locations of the world.

Cruise Ship in Alaska

img src: http://www.hollandamericablog.com/2013/07/03/first-time-cruisers-explore-alaska/

But cruises are often an exception to the norms of high priced travel. When seeking out a cruise line you can often find last minute deals and specials. Cruise lines sometimes offer huge discounts to try and fill up ships that are heading out to sea either way. Best of all, there are numerous cruise lines and ships to choose from depending on where you are located. Even if you live in a land locked area you might find a cheap way to get to the nearest coast (see Bolt Bus above) and your waiting well-priced ocean getaway.

Once on the ship, you will find that a lot of the cost of vacation is taken care of. Food is provided, along with travel to different destinations, and entertainment. Your vacation’s costs are often even less than a car trip with this lodging and food being taken into account. It is a good idea to continually check for the best prices possible and to remain flexible.

Sometimes it pays to go to each cruise line directly. If you live near a port be sure to check for local specials often only offered to the nearby community. You can also try to accrue points from discount websites that might help add up other extras while on your vacation for this one and the ones after it too. There are so many incredible places to go; everything from icy glaciers to quaint villages to warm beaches where Mai Thai’s greet you.

Take a peek at some cruse discounts at: expedia.com

Whatever You Do – Take Time for You

It is proven that those who vacation and take time for themselves at home live longer, with less stress in their lives. Those summer days and weeks, more than any other period of the year, are well-earned times to relax. No matter if you have a budget of fifty dollars, a few hundred, or a few thousand, you can have a summer vacation this year. It makes no difference to your health and well-being if you create your relaxing experience miles away, or right in your own home. Either way, make sure that your summer is full of ample sunshine, and memories to soak up too.

Summer Smoothie Recipe: Otai Smoothie

'Otai Smoothie RecipeSummer Smoothie Recipe: ‘Otai Smoothie

‘Otai is a refreshing drink that is a blend of watermelon, coconut, and pineapple, which originated in western Polynesia. We call this frozen version our Watermelon Pineapple Coconut Cooler. This ‘otai inspired recipe captures all the flavors of the traditional drink, but is smooth enough to enjoy with a straw on a warm summer evening.

Ingredients

2 cups seedless watermelon (with juice)
1 cup crushed pineapple (with juice)
1/2 cup coconut milk
Sweetener (stevia or agave, or sugar)

Preparation

Combine all ingredients except for sweetener in a blender and mix at the lowest speed. Continue slowly mixing until the ingredients are smooth, but not entirely liquified.

Add sweetener to taste.

Serve over ice.